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Latos helps Reds beat Cubs 4-1
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:20 PM


Associated Press


CHICAGO — Mat Latos pitched seven sharp innings for his first win of the season and Jay Bruce had two run-scoring doubles, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

With the wind blowing in on a cold summer night, Devin Mesoraco’s 5-game homer streak came to an end. The Reds catcher was tied with Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Johnny Bench, George Crowe and Ted Kluszewski for the franchise record.

Latos (1-0) allowed one run and five hits in his third start after beginning the season on the disabled list. It was his first win since Sept. 20 against Pittsburgh.

Latos was coming off a frustrating no-decision against Toronto, when he was staked to an 8-0 lead and was unable to hold on. He gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings as the Blue Jays rallied for a 14-9 victory Friday night.

Edwin Jackson (5-8) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings for Chicago, which has dropped four out of five. Starlin Castro had two hits and drove in a run.

The Cubs lost two out of three against the Reds to fall to 12-31 against Cincinnati over the last three seasons.

Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect eighth and Aroldis Chapman finished for his 14th save in 15 chances.

Pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano doubled off the front of the basket in right field with two outs in the ninth. The call was upheld after Cubs manager Rick Renteria called for a review and Chapman struck out pinch-hitter Mike Olt to end the game.

Kenseth aims for 1st win of season at Kentucky
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:19 PM

Associated Press


Matt Kenseth wanted to put a road-course wreck behind him and focus on chasing his first win.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.? He hoped there were no hard feelings for the accident before the Sprint Cup series shifted this weekend to Kentucky Speedway.

Earnhardt blamed himself for an incident that wrecked Kenseth at Sonoma and was apologetic on the radio. The longtime friends and on-track rivals appeared to smooth any lingering ill feelings about the incident with a chat Tuesday.

Earnhardt, who finished third on the road course, jumped a curb and sent Kenseth’s car into a tire barrier. Kenseth’s race was spoiled and he earned his first DNF of the season.

“I’m sure it was just a mistake,” Kenseth said. “I mean, part of the thing is the way the racing is today, it’s much more entertaining to watch, especially road courses. You’re running side by side with those 2-wide restarts and you run 2-wide at a track that’s really made to run single file, it’s very small and a lot of marbles, and there’s really only one good lane through there.”

Kenseth said earlier this week he was surprised he had not heard from Earnhardt following the race. Earnhardt used Twitter to note he finally did chat with Kenseth.

Coming off a 7-win season, Kenseth is winless and is fourth in the points standings, knowing he needs at least one victory to bolster his bid for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship field. Kenseth is the defending race winner at Kentucky Speedway.

“As far as the urgency to get a win, yeah, you want to get one,” Kenseth added. “In this new format you really need at least a win and be up in the top 30 to really feel confident about being in the Chase.”

CASTRONEVES REDEMPTION: IndyCar ends a 3-week hiatus with a doubleheader weekend at the Grand Prix of Houston.

Last year, a bump on turn one turned the event and points standings upside down. Points leader Helio Castroneves bottomed out in the second race on that turn, destroying his gearbox and ending a weekend that saw his 49-point lead vanish.

Stricker is at least thinking of British Open
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:19 PM

Associated Press


BETHESDA, Md. — Steve Stricker hasn’t booked his flight to the British Open and probably won’t.

He’s at least contemplating a return to golf’s oldest championship.

“Ask me tomorrow, I could be going,” Stricker replied during the U.S. Open. “Ask me another day, I could be going home. I’m leaning toward not going. I’m thinking about throwing in Greenbrier and then the John Deere. It’s a long trip and I’m not too fired up about it. But then I look at it and it’s a major. And I should be going there.”

Stricker operates under a different set of rules these days. It’s unfair to label him as an American who doesn’t want to travel. He reached a stage in his career where he doesn’t always travel inside his own country.

Feeling as though he owed it to his family to be at home more often, he drastically reduced his schedule last year and became a part-time player. He plays the John Deere Classic the week before the Open because it’s the closest he has to a hometown event — and because he won it three years in a row.

Even so, there’s part of him that sees a major championship going on and feels as if he belongs.

“When I watched on TV it was like, ‘I should be there.’ Then I look at it like I’m not a full-time guy on tour and I shouldn’t worry about,” Stricker said. “I play the things I want to play. My kids and wife might come to Greenbrier. They wouldn’t come with me to the British.”

With a tie for 21st in the U.S. Open, Stricker has moved up to No. 124 in the FedEx Cup. He has never missed the Tour Championship since the FedEx Cup began, a streak that is almost certain to end. With only limited starts remaining — at least three, maybe four — he’s not yet a lock to qualify for The Barclays.

And if he does make it into the playoffs, odds are against him staying very long.

“It’s not a priority of mine,” Stricker said. “If I’m exempt for The Barclays, I’ll probably play. But I do have an elk hunting trip I’ve scheduled.”

He was supposed to go last year but when he was runner-up at the Deutsche Bank and tied for fourth in the BMW Championship, it was worth playing the Tour Championship for a shot at the $10 million bonus.

That won’t be the case this time.

“Last year I missed out on it,” he added of the hunting trip. “This year, I’m going to be a part of that.”

EARLY START: The U.S. Women’s Open has been held before the men’s U.S. Open only three times, all of them in the South — 1996 and 2001 at Pine Needles, 1999 at Old Waverly in Mississippi.

Starting in 2018, the USGA will try to give the women a permanent spot on the schedule ahead of the men.

USGA Vice President Dan Burton said last week the 2018 Women’s Open at Shoal Creek will precede the U.S. Open, with practice rounds starting on Memorial Day.

“Making this permanent change allows us to elevate the visibility of the Women’s Open and provide optimum agronomic and playing conditions on a much broader variety of golf courses around the country,” Burton said. “We believe this will make our best championship in women’s golf even better.”

Giants' Lincecum pitches 2nd no-hitter vs Padres
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:09 PM


Associated Press


SAN FRANCISCO — Tim Lincecum's days of dominance may be in the past. That doesn't mean he can't dial up flashes of the Freak he once was — especially against the San Diego Padres.

Lincecum pitched his second no-hitter against the Padres in less than a year, allowing only one runner Wednesday and leading the San Francisco Giants to a 4-0 win.

"I've always been that guy who will kind of go for the strikeout," Lincecum said. "I think my first no-hitter I had 13, so I think I was going for those a little bit more often."

"Today I tried to be a little bit more efficient and take what they were going to give me. They were giving me a lot of groundballs and a lot of pop flies, so I was just going to try to keep attacking the way that I was."

Arrieta leads Cubs past Reds 7-3
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:16 PM


Associated Press


CHICAGO — Jake Arrieta retired his first 18 batters and struck out nine in seven impressive innings, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

Arrieta (4-1) was working on a perfect game before rookie Billy Hamilton started the seventh with a single up the middle. The right-hander allowed two runs and three hits while improving to 3-0 with a 1.14 ERA in five June starts.